On Tuesday Mastery Schools of Camden, a partnership with the Camden School District serving nearly 1,600 Camden families in five hybrid charter/traditional neighborhood schools, held a “beam-raising ceremony” to celebrate the construction of a new state-of-the-art elementary school at State Street and River Avenue in Cramer Hill. The event attracted over 200 students and parents, who helped hoist a steel beam that is an emblem of a brand-new Mastery Cramer Hill Elementary School,
Facilities include 43 light-filled classrooms, a separate gym and cafeteria spaces, new safe and secure outdoor recreational spaces, a library and digital resource center, and a robust after-school program. The community will have access to the outdoor recreational spaces, and access to the library and digital resource center for community meetings, and adult and continuing education on site.
The new school will open in time for the 2017-2018 school year.
“I have lived in Camden all my life. I am the product of the Camden School system. But a few years ago I had no hope. My daughter was struggling in school and not getting the support she needed. That’s when I found Mastery. My daughter started liking school for the first time and I had hope again,” said Sharell Sharp, a parent of a seventh grade student at North Camden Elementary. “Now for me and for hundreds of other families who live in Cramer Hill, North Camden and East Camden, this is the most hopeful we have ever been about Camden and our children’s future.”
“When my son Nathan was turning five I was searching for a school that would give him a firm educational foundation. Honestly, I was not expecting to find it up the block from my house, but I did at Mastery,” said Phillip Lopez, a parent of a first grade student at the current Mastery Cramer Hill Elementary School located at the former George Washington Elementary School. “Now I’m thrilled that a new building will build new memories for future generations, and most importantly, Mastery will be here in Camden for our children from elementary school through high school to prepare them for college and to become productive members of society.”
The press release notes that “under the Urban Hope Act, Mastery Charter Schools along with the other renaissance schools in Camden were required to build or substantially reconstruct and then operate new public schools. In February 2014, the City of Camden Redevelopment Agency approved Mastery’s proposal to redevelop the now former city-owned roughly 3.9 acre parcel at State Street and River Avenue in Cramer Hill into an approximately 85,000 square foot, three-story charter elementary school building.”
Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard added,
Camden students deserve to attend school in safe and modern learning environments that support learning, and Mastery’s building is a critical next step in a process that is building momentum.With one building recently completed and a handful of new construction, reconstruction, and renovation projects now underway, thousands of Camden students and staff are set to benefit. I appreciate Mastery’s commitment to serving Camden students and doing everything they can to deliver an excellent educational experience.